Scala was founded in 2016 by Margarita Mooney Clayton, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. Scala’s activities are led by internationally renowned artists, prestigious scholars, and exemplary educators in both K-12 and higher education who teach workshops for educators, lead masterclasses for artists, and run summer programs and seminars for students.
Why Beauty and Wisdom?Reveal more
The Scala Foundation’s mission is to restore meaning and purpose to American culture through beauty, liberal arts education and religion.Who We Are
Beauty awakens our desire to know. Through art, poetry, liturgy, natural beauty, and friendship, beauty can inspire students to become lifelong learners. Reason and open debate cultivate inspiration until it becomes wisdom. That is why Scala’s liberal arts vision is attentive to the human longing for beauty, meaning, friendship and belonging.
Wisdom is the fruit of education. It is the hard-won power to judge rightly in service of our communities and our world. It includes knowledge, but goes beyond knowledge to incorporate experience and virtue.
Scala’s liberal arts vision begins with the truth that humans are a unity of mind, body, and soul. Educating in beauty and wisdom ensures that the liberal arts form the body and the soul along with mind. Beauty and wisdom, almost forgotten in today’s modern society, are crucial to a good, well-ordered, holistic education.
Scala is the Latin word for ladder. A ladder needs a stable foundation: for Scala, that means being firmly based in community life that holds us steady as we climb to contemplate eternal truths.
The two sides of a ladder symbolize the need for balance between body and soul. The steps of the ladder represent the hard but necessary ascent to wisdom.
Scala’s Strategy to Renew Culture
Scala’s programs concentrate on pivotal agents of cultural renewal:
- Early-career professionals who are in training to become teachers, scholars, artists, writers, intellectuals, and culture-creators
- Major decision-makers in education and culture, such as university administrators and K-12 school leaders
- Educational entrepreneurs looking to found new schools, colleges, and curricular programs
- Artists and culture creators (writers, painters, musicians, architects, etc) who feed our culture’s hunger for beauty and wisdom
Scala’s seminars, reading groups, conferences, summer programs and online resources help educators and culture creators.
Be inspired by educators who build community with people pursuing the way of beauty
Meet internationally renowned artists and prestigious scholars and experience beautiful sacred music, art, and architecture
Form the next generation of students in classical liberal arts education and support cultural entrepreneurs renewing civic participation
From the Executive Director
I started Scala because I believe that restoring liberal arts education, grounded in beauty and wisdom, is crucial to renewing our culture.
Scala participants come from a wide variety of schools and backgrounds. Learn more about how our alumni are making a real-world difference and renewing education.
“In the online conversation with Dana Gioia I pass through three stages: 1) impressed–with the depth, breadth and relevance of thought; 2) hopeful–there were brilliant and faithful people who were not throwing up their hands in response to our cultural mess but rather laying out a plan to joyfully rebuild art and our institutions on a foundation of eternal, universal principles; 3) finally, I was fired up! Dana’s comment about St. Paul not being intimidated by the Roman Empire hit me hard. I was inspired to learn more and take action.”
— Michael M., Life-Long Learner and Aspiring English Teacher
“As a curriculum coordinator and consultant for classical education, I am particularly grateful for the support received through Scala—from Dr. Mooney Clayton’s personal visit to our school to meet with students and teachers, to her books on liberal arts education and beauty, a writing workshop arranged by Scala, and the outstanding conference Art, the Sacred and the Common Good. All of these Scala events have reflected and supported our mission for academic excellence founded in the Catholic faith.”
— Peach S., Classical Educator in New Jersey
“Thank you so very much Professor Mooney Clayton for a salvific four weeks. You have pushed the horizons of my imagination, which, as Maritain points out, is the best thing one can do to expand the freedom of one’s mind. The course has made me want to become an educator, as the readings did a great job of communicating the importance of education and the passion and drama of the teacher-student relationship.”
— Alex H., Yale University
“[Scala’s seminar] offered an invaluable deep dive into intensive academic study during my time as a working professional in DC. I think this course provides students with a close look at the core ideas of learning that get at the heart of human meaning. Our ever-distracted culture aches for such fundamental truths.”
— Elayne A., Writer and and Editor
“As an architecture major who went into youth ministry and now doing graduate work in theology, Scala’s activities have allowed me to connect the dots between art, faith and service.”
— Kyle B. , Princeton Theological Seminary
“After hearing the scholarly talks and experiencing the music and art at Scala’s conference on Art, the Sacred and the Common Good, I’m now prepared to persuade others that our political life can’t ignore beauty if we wish to promote the common good.”
— Elly B., Princeton University graduate student in politics
Educating For Beauty & Wisdom
View an episode from our latest webinar series: Educating for Beauty & Wisdom.
In this scholarly discussion between Professor Margarita Mooney Suarez and Dr. Daniel Lipinski, a political scientist who served eight terms in the United States House of Representatives, they reflected on the intersection of faith, politics and education.